Thursday, December 27, 2012
Photo Credit: Lindsay Coleman
I hate sounding like a broken record. Repeating the same things over and over again, with no new result.
And then I look to my inspirations. My friends, my family, God. They're all artists in some way, in some fashion.
They leave a unique fingerprint on my heart that no one else can overshadow or take away.
I've been missing out on so much love.
Love that's been right there in front me.
Why do I, feel the need to want and want and want those things that are allusive. Farther away.
Because when I get close to those things, I then want and want and want something further out.
And so the cycle continues.
I hate sounding like a broken record.
I've spent more time thinking about you and thinking about what you'd think of me when I say what I'm about to say.
Year after year, I've proclaimed that a particular year would be, had to be, couldn't help but be, my year--the year in which all my romantic notions and expectations would be fulfilled. We've prayed about it, had dreams about it, cried about it, laughed about it, had visions about it, confirmations about it, and so on and so forth.
But in an attempt to not outsmart my circumstances, I'm proclaiming that 2013 will be my year of Singleness. The year of no romance for Patrice.
Now, I know some of you will be tempted to text and call me immediately after reading that last sentence. But I encourage you not to.
Because 2013 will be a year of great love for me. I'm convinced of that.
Romance is already all around me. And I love celebrating it.
I love looking at the grandeur of a sunset, the beauty of the lines on my mother's face.
The magic of when two eyes meet and there's a special connection, if only for a moment.
I love the way in which God speaks to me through the teenagers I mentor at my church. And how God loves me in the ordinary and mundane to-dos of my life.
I love the sensation of writing and hearing from someone who has connected with my words.
It's all wonderfully and magnificently romantic.
But somehow along the way, I've lost sight of timing and truth and how my heart truly fits into my own romance story. I need to clear my head, and I think 2013 is just the place to do it in.
I don't want to miss the now, looking at the not yet fully formed future.
You see, I hate sounding like a broken record. And I hate looking like a fool. And somehow, I feel like I've effortlessly accomplished both in these last several years.
And yes, my heart is still hurting a bit from this year's failed romantic expectations, and perhaps it's also a bit guarded, but that's not the only reason I'm throwing in the towel. I feel myself half-living in certain areas because I feel cheated in some way. Which is a complete lie. My life is full and complete and overflowing with love and goodness. And if something (or my own views and perspectives) are preventing me from seeing that, they need to move aside and get readjusted.
I mean, aren't you interested in hearing other topics from me in this blog, beyond the one I've been addressing for the last several years? There's so much more.
But please believe, I'll continue to encourage and believe with you for your beautiful God-given romance. I know it's on its way. But for me, the verdict is still pending. And that's okay. Things are not always as they appear or how we think they will or should be.
And that's the truth I have to consider.
So in 2013, I'm intentionally choosing a new journey. A new outlook.
And now the repeating record just stopped.
"I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
When asked why he never was unfaithful to Joanne, Paul Newman famously replied,
"Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"
"Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"
Why do I love them thugs?
And why, must I occasionally fall for them playas. Someone who's chasing the next pretty young thang. I thought I was through with this phase in high school.
Turns out, men often stay 18 years old in the mind.
No. Not all men.
Okay. That was Bitter Betty talking.
Let me pull back.
But mostly, I want a man that is a thug, has a few tattoos, rough around the edges, but loves Jesus, has legit integrity, is generous, intelligent, tells me my Pinterest page is inspiring, has great style, supports my dreams, and has the heart of a teddy bear. Oh, is hot, my bestie, and can make me laugh.
But now I mostly sound like a "Consumer". Like my future boo is simply meant to be a product that can best serve me...you know, until the warranty runs out. Or something like that.
Instead of looking at how my future boo will be a gift and miraculously used in the sanctification plans of God's heart for me.
I know. I just got deep.
But truly, marriage is not meant to be simply a "Self-serving" product, with its value placed solely on my own happiness.
What the heck have I been expecting these past years?
Needless to say, in 2013, I'll be reading Timothy Keller's book: The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God
“In sharp contrast with our culture, the Bible teaches that the essence of marriage is a sacrificial commitment to the good of the other. That means that love is more fundamentally action than emotion. But in talking this way, there is a danger of falling into the opposite error that characterized many ancient and traditional societies. It is possible to see marriage as merely a social transaction, a way of doing your duty to family, tribe and society. Traditional societies made the family the ultimate value in life, and so marriage was a mere transaction that helped your family's interest. By contrast, contemporary Western societies make the individual's happiness the ultimate value, and so marriage becomes primarily an experience of romantic fulfillment. But the Bible sees GOD as the supreme good - not the individual or the family - and that gives us a view of marriage that intimately unites feelings AND duty, passion AND promise. That is because at the heart of the Biblical idea of marriage is the covenant.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
I was listening to a few interviews of Timothy Keller and his wife, Kathy Keller last week, as they talked about their own story, and the complexities, purposes, and beauty of a godly marriage and I was blown away. I've been studying this topic of marriage for almost 10 years. And I had heard much of what the Keller's shared, before. But this time, I heard all of this information, as if for the the first time. And I felt a bit of conviction and shame, knowing my current motives of marriage.
Current motives of marriage = Good sex and someone to help zip-up my dresses and sometimes cook for me and to look good next to me in photos, oh and of course help me lead my teenagers in my youth group. But notice what I listed first.
Look. I keeps it real.
I mean, I'm basically looking for a product, preferably at a good deal.
Never listing what I would want to give and do for my spouse. The ways in which I could love and serve him.
No. Instead. I'm listing the ways in which he can help fulfill my purposes and my desires. That's definitely not the full picture.
If I've learned anything from my parents, it's that a good marriage doesn't just happen. Good marriages are cultivated, with intentionality and sacrifice.
Not that I won't find sheer delight in my future boo, but I have to leave behind this notion of romance being absolutely effortless. Because that is simply not true.
“This principle - that your spouse should be capable of becoming your best friend - is a game changer when you address the question of compatibility in a prospective spouse. If you think of marriage largely in terms of erotic love, then compatibility means sexual chemistry and appeal. If you think of marriage largely as a way to move into the kind of social status in life you desire, then compatibility means being part of the desired social class, and perhaps common tastes and aspirations for lifestyle. The problem with these factors is that they are not durable. Physical attractiveness will wane, no matter how hard you work to delay its departure. And socio-economic status unfortunately can change almost overnight. When people think they have found compatibility based on these things, they often make the painful discovery that they have built their relationship on unstable ground. A woman "lets herself go" or a man loses his job, and the compatibility foundation falls apart.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
2012 has taught me one thing very well: I know a lot, but I don't know enough. And I definitely don't know everything.
I'm willing to learn again. I'm willing to admit my mistakes and my missteps. I'm willing to give this thing another go. But I think I need to take some time to listen.
I need to listen to my own heart again. I need to listen to what God is saying about me, again. And I need to learn to trust again.
I think that's what 2012 has been about for me. The question being: You've learned to forgive, You've learned how to get low and humble, but now can you learn to trust? "Will you trust me?" - God whispers to me.
“Real love, the Bible says, instinctively desires permanence.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Yeah. It's one thing to forgive someone for hurting you or a crappy 2012 for being horrible. But can you trust him again, can you trust that 2012 will end better than it began? Trust is not first placed in the hands of the offender, but instead in the hand of the eternal One, the Most trustworthy one. "Will you trust me?" He whispers.
“...We must say to ourselves something like this: 'Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn't think "I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me." No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED. He said, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing." He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely. That is why I am going to love my spouse.' Speak to your heart like that, and then fulfill the promises you made on your wedding day.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
I think I can. I think I can trust You. All over again.
As if nothing bad ever happened to me. Because Your love can do that.
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” ― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
I was offended. Very offended. So offended that I didn't want to believe anymore. And I definitely didn't want to trust You. Everything was tarnished, especially the dream. And now it's all impossible.
I think that's the way You wanted it.
Just so You could ask me again..."Will you trust me?"
And I, with tears in my eyes, like a little child...say, "Yes."
“Only with time do we really learn who the other person is and come to love the person for him- or herself and not just for the feelings and experiences they give us.”
― Timothy Keller, The Meaning of Marriage
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Photo Credit: Ashley Johnson
He looked her in the eye and decided to tell her the truth.
I just want to be held. And I want to be held by you.
He was feeling brave.
All the things you say when you're not afraid.
He said them.
And she looked at him with wide eyes.
When love is a statement, it can often get passed off as every day white noise. But when love is an invitation, it demands a response outside of the ordinary.
“Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?”
― Richard Rodgers, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Photo Credit: Kawika Drummond
We're both on the same page. My friend and I. We've both shared a similar faux romance journey basically all of 2012. Her story is different than mine. But so much the same.
When your friend, who is a girl, seems to be sad around you more than normal for no reason, and you do your do-diligence by asking what's wrong...and she says, "Nothing." Please don't think that was the truth.
And if you assume that she's just tired, you'd still be wrong.
The fact is, she's in love with you and you haven't gotten a clue.
And the wrestling of her emotions is getting the best of her.
My friend and I with our respective potentials, thought we were headed towards magic, something real. And then death after death began to engulf us.
I didn't want to go down without a fight.
The weight of my own heart got the best of me.
And I did something I never recommend doing. Ever. Simply because it takes away a part of the pursuit of the man--of which my heart craves.
But nevertheless...I spilled the beans.
For some reason, I felt I had to risk it. If you must know, the dream is still gnawing at me and I can't seem to let it go. And in my present knowledge I don't know of anyone else that could fill the outline of what my heart saw that one October night in the land of my dreams.
So, I told him how I felt and subsequently how I knew he wasn't ready for my heart. I simply wanted him to know what had really been going on with my heart all summer long.
Nothing to really write home about. In fact, there was no final and definite response, which is more disappointing than a heartfelt, "No, I don't feel the same way about you...let's just be friends..." But I have to guess that his lack of response, to me pouring out my heart is his response.
And in attempt to honor my own heart, I've distanced my self from him. Healing of my ego and heart has to occur and subsequently, I want to be ready for the one who is meant for me and is unashamedly and with confidence ready to choose me without hesitation.
Is it too much to ask for someone to be brave?...To be vulnerable....kind...adventurous...open...and honest? Yes, these attributes don't usually just happen...but instead are the product of intentionality. Of which I hope I'm growing more and more in.
So what will happen with him and I? Only God knows. Truly. But this all may simply become a distant memory or the foundation of something I needed to finally learn.
2012 has been full of surprises for me...not necessarily the good kind. People that are thought were meant for each other and would be together forever are parting ways. And I've wept with more friends this year than ever before.
But in all of this, I haven't forgotten what I really want. What makes my heart come alive. Love and it's beauty.
The thing about beauty is that it's so tender...so fragile. A beautiful face can be easily ruined with one slice or burn. A beautiful painting can be dropped and destroyed, so on and so forth.
These things that we consider beautiful cause us to come alive and we look for them, we pursue them. When things present themselves as potential beauty, we start to get butterflies.
And then we plan a way and a means to capture this beauty, to behold it as our own forever. But sometimes that beauty is not just for us, but for others.
The thing about beauty is that it's fragile and is often best held with open hands. Because as soon as you close your hands, you are most likely to crush it.
And what about my beautiful friend? How is she doing now? After walking out all of 2012 in patience and hope, wanting to embrace the love of her life, only to be ousted by another girl at the last minute, someone she feels she could never be, someone who he is now proclaiming to be in love with and wants to marry.
And now beauty seems to have left her hands...
Yes. She's heartbroken. Crushed. Disappointed and confused by all the previous signals he gave. But she's choosing strength in tenderness. And I know, because of this, beauty is sure to return to her hands.
To love is no easy task--it's not for cowards and for those with commitment issues. And it's definitely more helpful if you have a sense of humor.
Because mature love is for those that are willing to get back up again, everyday...
With open hands--ready to receive something fragile and beautiful...once again.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Posted by Patrice at 7:46 PM
Sunday, December 09, 2012
Photo Credit: Hannah Anderson
I've been wanting to write to you for some time, but life has been...something of an "Alice in Wonderland."
Since the last time I've written, I've surprised myself with my own boldness, with my own tenderness, and with my own strength.
I've gotten a glimpse of heaven.
I've wept with friends.
I've faced some demons.
I've stepped out once again into the unknown.
It's funny the imprint that people leave on our souls. You know the more you start hanging around someone, the more you begin to sound like them. You unconsciously embrace their words, their heart, their emotions.
It's interesting to think that there's someone out there in the world that sounds like you, simply for the fact that they spent significant time with you. An imprint has been made.
And likewise, you sound like someone. You may think you sound 'just like yourself.' But unless, you've been kept in a cave for the last 10 years, you don't simply sound like yourself, but more like the people you embrace, which in turn becomes a reflection of your own heart.
I was looking at Instagram a few minutes ago. And I noticed someone using 'my words'. And I thought to myself..."I guess I did make an impact. I guess I did matter to them in some intangible way."
2012 is almost over. And I don't quite know how to recap this year.
My heart has broken more times than I'd like to count this year. My Field of Dreams somehow dried up and played me.
And yet, there's a melody riding on the winds that are softly blowing. It's not a loud song. It doesn't need to be, for me to pause and begin to listen.
This song sounds like someone I know. A Someone that has left an imprint on my soul. How long will this melody play?
And does this melody lead into a song?
I. Honestly. Have. No. Idea.
But I'm convinced, that I'll only find out by waking up tomorrow and choosing to embrace new words in my mouth.
"I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand--I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people." - Isaiah 51:10
Posted by Patrice at 10:21 PM